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WSU is a Pac-12 title contender, yet apparently 'gimmicky'

With more national attention is going to come more stupid opinions. This is probably the first of many examples.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

In today's HCA link post, our own Mark Sandritter linked to a piece from Today'sUSports, or Today's USports, or Today's U Sports (great graphic design y'all), touting the Washington State Cougars as a Pac-12 title contender. Hey, that's neat!

Part of the problem with more attention from writers who wouldn't ordinarily pay much attention to WSU though is the confounding crap they write about the Cougs. That's not to say we don't appreciate the notoriety, just that it's difficult to really get a good handle on a team who plays most of their games in their conference's patented post-sundown extravaganza of couch burning and grain alcohol pouring.

So while we appreciate Travis Mewhirter's decision to call WSU a Pac-12 title contender, we have some, uh, issues.

There may be no more confounding team in college football than the Washington State Cougars.

Iowa. I still don't know how I'm going to explain 2015 Iowa to my non-existent children.

They’re gimmicky, devoid of any bona fide NFL star power

Boy, did we get off the rails quickly! The offense is apparently a "gimmick" because ... WSU doesn't run it a lot? I mean, a bunch of teams all around the country either run it or some form of it and you what they say about imitation.

Oh, by the by, the entire point of that "gimmicky" offense is that you can win a crap ton of football games without the kind of talent that is going to make it to Sundays.

More or less ignore the defensive side of the ball

Rather than running 11 different players out there, Mike Leach likes to toughen his offense up by having them also try and defend. Although that's not Mike Leach's ideal situation, which usually involves winning a game of rock-paper-scissors with the opposing coach to determine what he gets on the ensuing drive. He took quite a beating when he stuck with rock against Cal in 2014.

Refuse to put the ball on the ground

I would hope so, fumbling is generally considered bad by most college football prognosticators.

Operate under the mindset that their quarterbacks’ arms – and bodies – are made of either rubber or adamantine.


Win games they shouldn’t, lose games they shouldn’t, and just rarely make a whole lot of sense.

Also in this category: College football teams not coached by Nick Saban.

When discussing expectations for Wazzou


It’s frustrating, vexing, tempting and tenuous all at once.

I'll refer you to my point about teams who don't have Nick "What joy is there in winning if I can't just go back to work the next day and forget about it" Saban.

Frustrating because why in the world is this team losing to Portland State and Washington, yet scaring the daylights out of Stanford and toppling UCLA and Oregon?

I'd wager that it's because Portland State is better than Oregon, for one. And also, again ... COLLEGE FOOTBALL!

Vexing because that 45-10 pasting at the hands of those Huskies was sandwiched between convincing, comfortable wins over Colorado and Miami.

Ah yes, the turd in this sandwich is between a pieces of bread where we saw our quarterback leaving the field on a stretcher and a game you clearly didn't watch because I wouldn't call holding on to less than a touchdown lead for most of the fourth quarter while that defense we barely have needed to keep a pretty good offense at bay "comfortable".

This sounds like an awful sandwich. Can I at least go back and put some pastrami on it?

Tempting because this is a team that beat Oregon, Arizona and UCLA on the road in a six-week stretch.

We did it by holding a ton though. Don't tell Jim Mora, he'll just throw another fit.

Tenuous because how can you possibly rely on a team to perform consistently well over the course of 12 weeks that chucks the ball 50-, sometimes 60-, sometimes 70-plus times per game?

In a minute, Travis is gunna highlight Luke Falk as a potential All-American so ... that's about how I'd rely on them, champ.

And yet, if there is a season that sets up perfectly for Wazzou


Mike Leach’s team has an undeniable advantage in that it is one of few Pac-12 programs with a set quarterback. And it’s not just that Wazzou


Has a cemented starter, it has a potential All-American on its hands in Luke Falk.

Told you he would.

While the vast majority of Pac-12-land – and far beyond, as well – became quickly enamored with UCLA freshman phenom Josh Rosen, Falk quietly finished the season with a better quarterback rating. Sure, Falk has experience on Rosen, but Falk closed with nearly 200 more attempts than Rosen and had a considerably lighter supporting cast.

Besides that second sentence making no sense for how it was set up (I mean, sure, this guy is more familiar with his primary job but he did it more!), Gabe Marks as a Biletnikoff finalist would like a word.

While Rosen had the luxury of handing off to Paul Perkins and throwing to an armada of future NFL targets, Falk had Gabe Marks, an undersized receiver with an oversized heart.

Now, I wouldn't suggest purposefully sending this passage to Gabriel Marks, Junior in an effort to get us some quality "Angry Gabe" for the upcoming season ... but I'm not telling you not too, either.

Might wanna get that oversized heart checked, though. Sounds like a medical condition we need to worry about.

Marks, as has become well known, returned to Washington State for his final year because he believed the Cougars could win a conference championship. He’s not wrong.

But it will take more than a Falk-to-Marks chemistry to sustain success over the course of an entire season.

It'll probably take ten of your returning leading receivers, three of which are also running backs which, as we previously mentioned, ran pretty well last year. THAT'S JUST AN INKLING ON MY PART, THOUGH.

Aside from USC, no team in the Pac-12 has a rougher beginning to its schedule than Washington State. It opens Pac-12 play with Oregon, Stanford and UCLA. For any team in the country, that could easily spell three consecutive losses.

We beat two of them last year.

The Pac-12 is as enigmatic as ever. Washington State, oddly enough, is as sure a thing as it has been in quite some time. Confounding? Yes. Frustrating? Yes. A potential championship team? Absolutely.

Finally, something we can agree on.